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Screenwriting Help E-Mail (Previous)

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This week's question: 

I'm trying to figure out how to write my messages to Producers at Inktip and other places.  Do you have any suggestions?


This week's answer: 

Everything but the Kitchen Succinct

Jennah, a query letter or message (or smoke signal) to a producer through Inktip or any producer's address (electronic or three-dimensional) can make a difference as to how you're being initially viewed.  It's as though the producer is  meeting you for the first time, and, thus, you want to make a good impression.

As someone who has received many queries from screenwriters, I've found that what I appreciate most is the two "S's":  Sincerity and Succinctness.  What I appreciate least is when somebody writes me, taking on airs, posturing about producers who are clamoring for their written word or how directors or known actors are attached to the script (which can be a painful and messy situation, especially if they're attached with Super Glue), or how much the budget will be on the "project."  (The "project."  It's still only a script and already it's a "project."  Please.)  If something will turn me off faster than fast it's somebody acting self-important and trying to bowl me over with how "Hollywoodish" they are.  (Another "please," please.)  

And, concerning "succinct" (or you could use "brief" or "short" or "pithy" or "terse" or "laconic."  Sorry.  That's not very succinct of me.), when I see paragraphs of explanation about the screenplay or its background or how important it is or the author's background or how important he or she is (refer to the paragraph above regarding "sincerity"), in other words, a tsunami of unsolicited information, I find myself immediately not wanting to read it (the query and the script).  That's not what you want.  Instead, after your brief words, your brief introduction, you want the reader to be feeling relaxed, even possibly wanting to know more.  (And a good way for him or her to do that is to... 

read your script.

So... the two "S's.  Succinct and sincere.  That's what works for me.  

Oh, and one more thing.  It amazes me how many screenwriters don't know the difference between loglines and taglines.  Maybe I'll cover that in my next column.  And don't worry.

I'll be succinct.


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